Why you should swear off all popular science media (except for Uncommon Descent and other sensible blogs) for your own mental health:
Where does all this leave us?Let me return to the beginning, to Cordelia Fine and how we can think better about science, neural function, and human difference.
The essentialist view of the brain is rapidly falling by the wayside. It is not just the recognition of neuroplasticity, and how experience and use can shape how the brain fires and wires together. Today, how we think about what parts of the brain do has changed – the essentialist view of innate modules, as well as our projection of human categories onto the brain, has come largely undone in the science.
The Amygdala – It’s Not Just fear Anymore
One of my favorite recent examples is of the amygdala. Before, this was the fear center of the brain, our view that one part of the brain mentioned this one basic emotion (crucial for survival, and so of course hard-wired…). But today, the amygdala is now seen to mediate reward, attention, and sensory processing.
– Daniel Lende, “The Brain Is Essential – But Don’t Call It Essentialist!” Neuroanthropology, (February 14, 2011)
See what I mean? Don’t wait for them. Reclaim yourself for yourself.
Philosopher Cordelia Fine is great at debunking the sort of brain-determinist sex differences that exist only in someone’s head – maybe the head of the “little girl pink” marketing genius.
Note: When I was a kid, the color for girls was red. It blended in nicely with our surroundings, and, while executing a daredevil stunt, I wore a red sweater that my grandma had sent (too small for me by then), wrapped around my neck.
Denyse O’Leary is co-author of The Spiritual Brain.
Hat tip: Stephanie West Allen at Brains on Purpose